Question Could I Get Some Help Upgrading my Old Dell?

May 1, 2020
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So, I have a Dell Inspiron 3670 :
CPU: i5-8400 @2.8GHz
MoBo: Dell 0H4VK7 (version A 01)
Ram: 12GB (1x8, 1x4)
PSU: 290 watts
HDD: 1TB (whatever Dell used)
Peripherals: FocusRite Scarlett 18i8 audio interface ( I don't know the wattage it draws), and an MXL V67G condenser mic (draws 48v phantom power from the audio interface)

I have used this PC for a couple years to edit my YouTube videos, until my Elgato HD60S capture card died. As it is slow, I have decided it is time to upgrade. I don't want to do much, because I plan to build a decent entertainment center PC when my stimulus check arrives. I am under the impression that the components in the system only draw 65 watts total. Please correct me if I am wrong. Over at PC parts picker, I have picked out the following components:
  1. 500 GB M.2 Drive
  2. 2TB Seagate Barracuda
  3. 16GB GSkill Aegis 3200 RAM
https://pcpartpicker.com/user/HBahlsac/saved/NFRy4D
If anyone knows of any compatibility issues with those parts due to potential Dell proprietary parts, please let me know.

In addition to those parts, I want to install an Elgato HD60 Pro internal capture card in the system. I think the old card died because I had it sitting on top of my audio interface, and it got pretty hot. I just heard back from Elgato customer support, and the HD60 Pro only draws 1.77 watts so...

Now I'm thinking of also putting a pretty barebones GPU in as well. It would have to be able to draw its power from the PCIe slot, as there are NO extra cables/connections inside the case, or on the MoBo. Does anyone have any ideas? I don't really want to spend more than $150 USD, and I am not looking to buy used parts. As for the types of games that would potentially get played on the card, Kerbal Space Program and Civilization 6 are the most likely suspects.
 
Feb 17, 2020
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I wouldn't upgrade the RAM as it won't support more than 2666MHz. I'm not sure it would be worth sinking more money into upgrading the RAM either, especially with the limited speeds, when you're going to build a new PC soon anyhow.

The motherboard appears to have a proprietary power connector for the PSU. So upgrading the PSU would be, at least, not entirely straightforward, if it's even realistically possible or advisable.

You should be able to use something like a GTX 1650, which as a 75W card would draw its power from the PCIe slot. Looking at the manual, you'd fit that in the PCIe x16 slot, and there is a PCIe x1 slot just above it that should take the capture card.

I'm not sure if there's any bandwidth sharing going on between the various PCIe slots (including the M.2) and Sata slots. Possibly not as it only has a limited number of them. In which case your storage, Elgato, and GPU plan would be fine.

WRT to the Elgato cooling itself, while sat between a CPU and a GPU, perhaps add some extra fans to the case. Are those 80mm fan mounts at the back I see? Any other fan mount locations?
 
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May 1, 2020
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Thanks. As for the fan(s). Stock, the PC has just the CPU cooler fan, and that has a shroud around it that rests against the left side vent on the case. I think this is used for exhaust, because the bottom front of the case has a small area with a paper filter element for dust control. There is space at the back for a fan, but I didn't see any spare fan connectors on the MoBo when I had it open a couple weeks back. As for the size of the grate, I'm not sure of the exact size.

As for the RAM, isn't the fact that the sticks are 1-8GB and 1-4GB a bottleneck in the machine? Would it make sense to just buy a single 8GB stick of 2666MHz?

With respect to the GPU, does this look about right?
https://pcpartpicker.com/user/HBahlsac/saved/NFRy4D
 
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That part list is apparently private so I can't see it :D

How much 'clearance' is there for your GPU in your case? i.e. how many millimetres from the 2 PCIe brackets the GPU will occupy is there until you hit something (e.g. as per pic)

To add extra case fans you could connect them to the PSU. Assuming the PSU has molex connectors and you can get a Molex to 3-pin fan adapter. These can be for single fans or can let you run, commonly, 3 fans off the same connector. e.g. for 12V fans (most fans are 12V) this sort of thing. Or there are some Sata ones if you only have a spare Sata connector on the PSU.

As for the RAM, isn't the fact that the sticks are 1-8GB and 1-4GB a bottleneck in the machine?
The different sizes aren't an issue. Technically they are an issue in that it means (afaik) only the 4gb stick plus the first 4gb of the 8gb stick are dual channel, while the second 4gb of the 8gb stick is single channel. But unless you've been getting memory bandwidth bottlenecking for your uses, I wouldn't have necessarily thought it worth using limited funds on. If you were buying new, always go with 2 x 8gb over 12gb ofc. You could buy another 1 x 8gb stick, to swap the 4gb stick out for ofc, but I can't say what, if any, performance benefit you'd expect.

If buying more RAM, get something with the same frequency and timings as your current RAM. CPU-Z's SPD tab will tell you that, and even list the part number of the RAM you have. Even that doesn't guarantee a new stick from a matched kit will play nice, but it helps.
 
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Also, if you ever think about upgrading the PSU, these topics might be of interest. I'm not recommending you do upgrade the PSU, just listing as I found them incidentally

Though as always, beware advice on the internet.. including this advice.. ;)
 
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That's strange, it was the same parts list as before, except with a GPU added. Here is the GPU on NEWEGG:
GPU

I don't really want to replace the PSU. I feel like if I do that, then I might as well throw in a MoBo and case as well. Then I have a new PC with the old CPU. And this PSU doesn't have any molex connectors. It is a sealed unit with just the one set of cables that have just enough connectors for what already exists within the case.

As for the RAM I've never seen it get above 8GB usage. Not even editing videos. or other tasks where both the CPU and HDD are running 100% loads. But maybe it wouldn't necessarily need to, and could still be working just fine. I'm a noob at all of this.

I've run CPU-Z and slot 1 has 8GB of DDR4-2666 (1333 MHz), slot 2 has 4GB of DDR4-2666 (1333 MHz). I'm not sure if that means they are running at half their possible speed, or if that is normal.
 

Inspireless Llama

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The RAM speeds are normal. It's running in dual channel, so a set of 3000Mhz RAM will always run at 1500mhz per slot.

I think with a prebuilt case like this the issue usually is that everything is made to perfectly fit, therefore making upgrading more complicated.

How long till you plan to upgrade anyway? The SSD is always fine, you can move it over to your new PC anyway. Like @Oussebon said I wouldn't go for the RAM.

As for the GPU, how do you like your current graphics? As long as it's acceptable it may be worth waiting till you upgrade your entire PC anyway. That leaves alot more space for going for a proper videocard.
For the capture card, I'm not sure what the actual difference is, but if you get another internal one that might fail because of heat, wouldn't it be more recommended to get an external one instead?
 
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The RAM speeds are normal. It's running in dual channel, so a set of 3000Mhz RAM will always run at 1500mhz per slot.
Thanks for the explanation.

Nothing that I put into this upgrade will be moved over to the new PC when I build that. This PC will still be used to capture and edit footage from my XBONE. The new PC will be an AMD/Nvidia build. That will go in my entertainment center, and be hooked up to the 4K TV in the living room.

I don't really play too many games on PC at all right now. Even though I'm an old gamer, I've always just stuck with consoles. However, as the industry continues to sacrifice itself on the altar of live services, the vibrant indie and modding communities on PC have made me finally see the investment in a competent PC as being worthwhile. So, when my stimulus check arrives I'm planning to use the money to build a new PC. All of which was a very long winded way to say that the timing of exactly when I will build the new PC is unknown. It could be this week, or it could be a couple months.

Which is another reason for this upgrade. I've never built a PC of any type before. So this upgrade, and clean install of Windows will be a kind of guinea pig. If I can get this done right, I will have some more confidence going into the other build. If I screw it up, I can always plug the old HDD back in and no harm, no foul.

The main reason for considering a GPU is for the video editing of the captured XBONE footage. I'm not sure how much, if any performance increase it would provide. And I'm not sure if the increased heat inside a case with limited air circulation would negate that potential performance, or even threaten the life of the capture card.

As for the capture card that failed, it was an external card. Due to my limited workspace, I had placed it on top of my audio interface (at the time it was a FocusRite Scarlett 2i2) in an enclosed area with virtually no air circulation. When it failed, and I removed it, it was very hot to touch. This time, I figured that an internal capture card would have more room and air than an external one. That was before I even considered including a low end video card in the mix.

So, again, thanks for the response, and any further advice you might have would be greatly appreciated.
 
Feb 17, 2020
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I've run CPU-Z and slot 1 has 8GB of DDR4-2666 (1333 MHz), slot 2 has 4GB of DDR4-2666 (1333 MHz). I'm not sure if that means they are running at half their possible speed, or if that is normal.
As above, that't normal

Instead of buying a 1050 ti for $160, you can buy a 1650 for $160. Both are 75W cards (no need for extra power connectors - same amount of heat being produced too). While the 1650 is just faster.
 
May 1, 2020
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Instead of buying a 1050 ti for $160, you can buy a 1650 for $160. Both are 75W cards (no need for extra power connectors - same amount of heat being produced too). While the 1650 is just faster.
Thanks for the advice. Do you think the 1650 will speed up video encoding/editing? How much? And how much hotter do you think the internal case temps will get since extra cooling looks pretty much impossible at this point? Do you think any potential gains will be offset by the increased thermals?
 
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You can always run the PC with the side panel off during encoding workloads

The GPU could speed up the work massively. It depends on the software you use, and your workloads though.
 

Inspireless Llama

Community Contributor
Dec 20, 2019
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To add to that, PC's can handle pretty hot temperatures, usually a CPU will have a safe temperature of arround 90-95 degrees, a GPU as well.

I think that even under load with bad thermals, it will increase your performance by quite a bit, even if it's not working at 100% and then you can take the sidepanel off as well. I'm not sure how much of a hassle that is on a Dell PC to just do that for a while. My panel opens up like a door so it's really easy to open, but if you have screws to losen and put back in everytime you have a workload, it may seem like a lot of work.
 

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